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Name: Adam Bernard
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Daydreaming With The Dollyrots … and Running From Hotel Security
Friday, July 12, 2019

For nearly two decades The Dollyrots have been rocking audiences around the globe, and the duo of Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas are showing no signs of slowing down with a new album, Daydream Explosion, being released today, and an extensive national tour in support of that album having kicked off yesterday.

An even more impressive feat – they’re doing all of this while raising two young children.

With their new album fresh in everyone’s ears, and their tour in full swing (see all the tour dates at dollyrots.com), I caught up with Kelly to find out more about their Daydream Explosion, get some stories from the road – one of which involves Kelly running from hotel security, and learn how they balance punk rock and parenthood.

The new album is Daydream Explosion. Tell me, do you daydream, and if so, what do you daydream about?

Ugh, I am the worst daydreamer … or the best, however you want to look at it. {laughs}

My mind is just a wandering mind. I’m constantly thinking of ten things at once, and also I’m easily distracted. That’s probably why I’m not a great driver.

Usually the things I’m most distracted by are cute creatures, or weird birds. Nature, usually nature is the main thing, or cool cars.

I read that you consider this album the album of your dreams. How does this translate emotionally, and energy-wise, when you perform these songs?

They feel really powerful.

My life has changed a lot in the past 6 years. The two records before this one I was pregnant while writing them, so of course now I’m mother to two small children, and my husband, and partner, and everything, is my bandmate, so everything that we do comes with a lot behind it.

The stories aren’t always about us, but the experiences are, whether it’s an experience that a friend has had, or a family member, or something from our past, we write everything with truth, and emotion.

This album was particularly, I would say emotional, and not in a bad sense.

My dad passed away December 21st, and at that point I think we had maybe a quarter of the album written. (His passing) wasn’t unexpected, he’d been sick for a long time, but he was having a good spurt, so I guess it was a blessing that he passed on when things were kinda good, but I was not prepared to finish writing a record right then, but we had no choice. We had booked Pachyderm Studios outside of Minneapolis for January 22nd, and there was no way we weren’t gonna get there.

Luis, fortunately, supported me in every way that he could. He wrote some amazing instrumentals, and I would come in and we would write melodies and lyrics together after we put the kids to bed at night until the wee hours in the morning.

I think that something special was happening in that time because it was such an emotional time, and we were able to reflect on life in a way that I had never experienced before.

My mom, fortunately, is still here, but losing a parent is a really profound experience, and I think it opened my mind to emotions and feelings that now as a parent, especially, I hadn’t really tapped into before.

The songs can still be listened to as light, poppy, fun Dollyrots songs, but as always our songs do have depth if you care to look into them, and this one in particular is emotional.

It’s very jubilant and happy …

I was gonna say, musically it’s not a bummer.

No. The thing is I was so happy. I was looking back on all these pictures with my dad, and my amazing childhood, and early life.

It was written with such appreciation, and gratitude, and just jubilance. It wasn’t a sad time at all. It ended up really propelling us forward in a positive way, so I think it was a gift, and I don’t know if we’ll ever write a record this good again.

This is your first release in a post-Warped Tour world – I’m not counting the one-off dates. Where does pop punk and punk rock go, and what do they need to do, in this weird new world?

It’s kind of strange, but our band has never really been part of “the scene” the scene, like the greater scene. We’ve been parts of a lot of smaller scenes, but I think our brand of pop punk is definitely a nod to the older pop punk, in a way. Buzzcocks took us out on tour. We love rock n roll of the Joan Jett variety. We’ve toured with The Breeders. We’ve toured with a lot of bands that we grew up looking up to that also play a … it’s not classic rock in a sense like Zeppelin, or gonna go play “Freebird” at the end of the show, but in a classic rock n roll way, and I think that’s more the music that we play.

Leading into how we’re releasing this record, we’re releasing it with Wicked Cool, and that is a record label that supports rock n roll in the truest definition of rock n roll. It’s a good home for us because it’s not necessarily old fashioned in any way, but it’s also not something that’s gonna be dated in 10 years.

I feel like our first records are still as easy to listen to as a rock n roll record as they were when we wrote them.

You are going on tour in support of Daydream Explosion, so let’s get some tour stories. Pretty much every band that goes on the road ends up with the occasional run in with the law. What’s the closest you’ve come to getting arrested without actually getting arrested?

Let me think … you know, I always get out of it, so I have never been arrested, thank goodness.

I have been placed in a couple police cruisers.

What led to that?

This isn’t a tour story, but it is a band related story.

There was a Grammy party at The Roosevelt, which is on Hollywood Boulevard, right across from the Chinese Theatre. If you’ve ever been to Hollywood and walked on the Walk of Fame, it’s right there, right in the middle of the touristy Hollywood.

So we went to this Grammy party at The Roosevelt. We had been drinking all day, doing interviews, and doing the schmooze thing, and the sun went down and I was getting a little feisty. It was in my whiskey days. I realized that nobody was in the pool. I was like, this party is so boring. They were playing music that I thought was lame, I don’t remember what it was, and I was like, I’m going in the pool.

I took off my pants and shoes, and I went in the pool in my t-shirt and my underwear.

So you weren’t that drunk if you took off your pants and shoes first.

No no. I wasn’t wasted, I was just a little feisty.

So I got in the pool, then I took off my shirt, and then about 30 seconds later these jumbo sized security guards decided that I had to get out of the pool. I was like, “Why? We’re at a hotel. There’s this beautiful huge pool right here,” and they’re like, “No. The hotel pool’s closed.” I was like, “Alright, whatever, man,” and they got kind of aggro on me – and this is pretty much my M.O., it’s happened one other time at this intersection – I got out of the pool in my bra and underwear and bolted.

I ran out of the hotel, through a lobby full of people that were there for a Grammy party.

I ran through the lobby out onto Hollywood Boulevard. We were at Hollywood and Orange. If you look at a map it’s kind of hilarious. I ran up Orange, so I crossed Hollywood Boulevard at a crosswalk, in a bra and underwear, soaking wet, drunk.

But you were obeying the law, you crossed at the crosswalk.

Oh yeah, always at the crosswalk. I think it was a weekend night, so it was packed.

I ended up breaking into an apartment building and hiding in a closet for a while until I kinda dried off, and I don’t even remember how, but somehow I found Luis, and Luis had my pants, but not the shirt. But yeah, we didn’t really go back to The Roosevelt after that.

The parking garage there was also the scene of a similar thing where security guards were chasing me because I broke … you know those arms that go down to stop you in-between cars? I decided to run through one once, and I broke it.

The security guards were like frothing at the mouth chasing me, so I went running, and then they called the cops, then I (ended up) in the cop car after hiding in a tree behind an apartment building called The Nirvana.

I thought the coast was clear, I got out, and the cops were standing there waiting for me, so they put me in the cruiser. They were talking to Luis and our bandmate at the time, Chris, who were being held on the ground at that intersection in front of a bunch of people we knew leaving a party, one of which is our attorney now.

The end of the story is I was just sitting in the police cruiser thinking oh God, I’m so gonna get arrested for this, aren’t I? The cop opened up the door and asked, “Are those two your friends?” I was like, “They’re my bandmates.” He said,” Alright, you guys better get home safe, OK?” and he laughed at me and let me go.

That’s kinda been the way it always goes for me.

Did you break through the parking garage arm with a car, or …

No no, my body. I put my arms up. It was during the Olympics, so I was feeling inspired to break through the finish line. {laughs}

And you did.

I did.

Little did you know there was a whole other race you’d have to run afterward.

Yeah, and that thing is still braced. They bolted it back together, so if you’re ever parking under Hollywood and Highland, and you see the broken arm thing in-between cars, that was from me.

Someone should slap a Dollyrots sticker on there.

I should! I should do that next time I’m there. {laughs}

How do you balance punk rock – which is anti-authority – and parenthood, where you’re 100% the authority? That can’t be easy.

It’s true, but I treat my children like small individuals that are their own beings, and need to make their own decisions. That said, I am the ruler supreme, but I don’t say, “Well, because I’m your parent.” If I’m making them do something I give the reasons why, and dude, trust me, it is exhausting, but I don’t bark out orders without explanation, and I don’t ask them to do things that they don’t need to do. I give them enough freedom as I can, within reason.

They play outside by themselves in the backyard, digging dirt, eating plants, I don’t know what they’re doing some of the time.

What we all did as kids.

Yeah, it’s up to them to find their way in different places within the confines of my little safety border I put around them that they don’t know exists. {laughs}

It’s gotta be funny, though, because if they draw on the wall it’s a terrible thing, but at the same time it’s like, “Don’t do that thing I did two nights ago in a venue’s bathroom.”

Oh yeah. It’s like, “Well don’t do it at home, but you could do it here.” {laughs}

They’ve been on tour, too. They’ve both been touring their entire lives. Our 5 year old, his first tour was a Southern California Black Flag date. I think he was 8 weeks old. He’s seen some shit, but it’s funny in a way because I think he definitely understands it. He doesn’t curse, or anything, even though he’s around our tour family, which, I mean, every other word is fuck, and asshole, and shit, and he never ever uses those words. One time he did, and I was like, “That is not a word for you to use. That’s a grown up word. When you’re a grown up, if you choose to you can use it,” and he was like, “Oh, OK, I get it.”

They’re reasonable kids.

For more of The Dollyrots, check out dollyrots.com, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
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